Oosterhout - Never change a winning team: in the framework of an extensive modernization project centred around its coldset web offset press, Pressehaus Stade Zeitungsdruck-GmbH is renewing its trust in automatic in-line press control systems from Q.I. Press Controls. The 32-page KBA Journal Express will soon be equipped with a state-of-the-art mRC-3D colour and cut-off register system from the Dutch supplier. Assuming everything goes according to plan, the system will be installed in early summer. The press is designed for production on two webs in Rhine format. It consists of one four-high tower and one three-high tower for 4/2-colour printing, configured with two Y printing units.
Stade Zeitungsdruck operates six days a week: the daily Stader Tageblatt has a circulation of 27,000 while the Buxtehuder Tageblatt and its sub-edition Altländer Tageblatt together add up to 11,300 copies. Two ad journals – Mittwochsjournal (100,000 copies) and Marktplatz (60,000 copies every weekend) are also produced once a week on the same web press. Various contracts round off the portfolio.
Time for a generation change
The mRC-3D system will replace an IRS III colour register system, which has been serving the newspaper printer at its Stade facility some 25 miles west of Hamburg since 2002, as well as an even older cut-off register control system. "When we invested in the IRS III system, Q.I. Press Controls and its products were still relatively new to the market. We opted for Q.I. Press Controls following an impressive demonstration and we haven't had a single regret since. We've experienced almost no problems whatsoever with the system in all these years. The whole set-up has been so stable that we've hardly ever had to intervene. After eleven years, however, major advances in digital press control technology meant it was time for a generation change in order to optimize our efficiency", says Manfred Kriett, responsible for the technical management. He shares management of the newsprinting company with Dr. Christoph Gillen, publisher of the Stader Tageblatt.
With more than a decade of positive experience, it was the innovative engineering of the new mRC-3D system that once again tipped the scales in favour of Q.I. Press Controls. Another argument in its favour was that the press operators in Stade are already thoroughly familiar with the concept and operating philosophy of Q.I. Press Controls systems, so that only minimal training will be required to get them up and running. What's more, parts of the existing IRS III system infrastructure, such as the cables, cabinets and encoders, can be reused for the mRC-3D. Like the scanning units of the old system, the scanner bars and motorized mRC-3D cameras are installed directly above the two units (for colour register control) and upstream of the folder former infeed rollers (for cut-off register control).
The new colour register control system monitors the printed work with the help of a compact camera on both sides of the web while the cut-off register system manages with just one camera per web. The reading range is illuminated by LED lights mounted inside the camera and the built-in microprocessor hardware processes the measured data in real time to facilitate exceptionally fast control. Thanks to their 3D functionality, the scanners are capable of measuring the printed micro-marks accurately at a focal depth of ±20 mm. Minor variations in position or deformations of the moving paper web therefore have no effect on the quality of the measurements. As a result, no special support is needed for the web at the measuring point, for instance in the form of a guide roller.
Clear view of the register
Pressehaus Stade Zeitungsdruck has ordered its new colour and cut-off register control system with the Automatic Ink Mist Shield (AIMS). The AIMS prevents contamination of the mRC-3D camera lens and lighting due to ink mist, paper dust or other kinds of debris. A pre-tensioned, transparent film driven by a cassette ensures that all readings conform to the same high quality. Manual cleaning is now a thing of the past because the motor simply winds the film on one pulse if ever it becomes smudgy and a clean section is positioned in front of the optical system instead. Kriett is in no doubt: "This feature is extremely useful because it allows us to spend far less time on maintenance and cleaning. In the top part of the press, where the cameras are installed, a certain amount of dust and other debris in the air is unavoidable owing to the thermals in the building; the AIMS effectively shields the cameras from this dust, which would otherwise settle on the press components unhindered."
Manfred Kriett expects the latest system generation to generate a further improvement in register control efficiency: "In particular, the faster re-registration following a reel change will lead to a tangible reduction in waste when the new system is installed. We're convinced this Q.I. Press Controls solution will stand us in very good stead in the next few years." Just to be on the safe side, the company has also signed a service contract for the new mRC-3D. Amongst other things, this covers regular inspections and maintenance of the system hardware and software by a qualified Q.I. Press Controls service engineer.